Saudi Arabia vs Qatar

James M. Dorsey:

At the core of the regional rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Qatar are fundamentally different strategies of self-preservation. While the royal families of both have sought to buffer themselves by lavish social spending, Saudi Arabia has opted for maintenance of the status quo where possible and limited engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Syria, toward which it harbors deep-seated distrust.

In contrast Qatar seeks to be on the cutting edge of history and has exercised a sophisticated soft diplomacy with its winning bid to host the World Cup, positioning itself as global hub by developing a comprehensive sports sector, creation of world class museums and sponsorship of the arts. In effect, Qatari support for the Muslim Brotherhood and popular revolts in the region constitutes an integral part of its foreign and defense policy, designed to embed itself in the international community so as to enhance the chances that other nations will come to its aid in time of need

It seems that the Saudi-Qatari honeymoon that lasted for the past few years, clearly seen in Al Jazeera’s softening their coverage of Saudi Arabia, is probably coming to an end over differences on how to handle the Arab uprisings. Saudi Arabia’s newest newspaper al-Sharq has been running many pieces critical of Qatar in recent weeks.